Could Indoor Tanning Put You In Danger?

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

We've seen them all over Charlottesville. The signs for tanning salons are easy to find, but how easy is it to find their problems?

Despite skin-cancer risks and wrinkle warnings, tanning is still pretty popular around Charlottesville. The indoor tanning trend has become common among the younger generation.

"I think it may happen to me the way I go to the salons", said Caroline Greer, a frequent tanner.

Dermatologists say those tanners are at risk of getting cancer. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a high percentage of teenagers actively pursue a tan. Among 17-year old girls, 35% reported using tanning beds in the past year.

Some experts say this obsession was spawned by celebrities in Hollywood, and want to get the message out that some are being duped.

"It could be one of the factors causing the problem", said Dr. Rigel who is recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Nonetheless, a spokesman with the Indoor Tanning Association says doctors are underplaying the benefits of moderate exposure to UVA rays.

Tanners say there's not much wrong with that except, "...that I just watch my skin change colors", commented Caroline Greer.

A study also done last year found tanning-bed use was linked to a 2.5 times increased risk of various forms of cancer. The younger people started, the more their risk increased. Though these cancers are highly curable, it is estimated they kill over two thousand people in the United States each year.

The American Academy of Dermatology has lobbied for, and have passed laws limiting minors' access to tanning beds in California, Wisconsin, and Illinois. For Virginia, the law says a statement must be posted, and signed by minors.

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